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Unsung Heroes! Meet Mercer's Libby Hicks and Lynne Carson

Thursday 12th September 2019

Lynne and Libby

Libby (right) and Lynne, who first met in the grounds of their daughters' primary school, have been job-sharing the role of senior team assistant for Mercer’s Helpline team for more than a decade. With their skills, commitment, loyalty and sense of fun, they might just be the best job-sharing duo ever to have shared a role! After hearing from their colleagues, we don't doubt it for a second.

"There isn’t a pair that does job-sharing as perfectly as Libby and Lynne! It’s as if they’re one person"

What their colleagues have to say...

Quote Colleen Constable, Facilities Manager Australia, Mercer
Lynne and Libby are fiercely protective of and loyal to their tribe. They have a good sense of humour in often challenging circumstances, are great fun and always up for a laugh! They are well-organised, are constantly having to adapt to change, and are good at solving puzzles.

Quote Aaron Lochrie, Head of Customer Experience, Mercer
There isn’t a pair that does job-sharing as perfectly as Libby and Lynne! It’s as if they’re one person. The support they provide the team is seamless and they’re always only too happy to help. It’s not just the work they do and the standard at which they do it – they are both fun and outgoing and always have a smile on their faces. It makes all the difference.

Quote Natalie Miniken, Helpline Leader, Mercer
Lynne and Libby are such assets to our team – we wouldn’t function as well as we do without them! We’re lucky to have one of them, let alone two. They are absolutely the go-to people for our team members. Any question we have, they always have the answers. They are completely committed to helping our team be a successful one.

"Lynne and Libby are fiercely protective of and loyal to their tribe.’"

Colleen Constable, Facilities Manager Australia, Mercer

Q&A with Lynne Carson and Libby Hicks

Unsung Hero

What's the best thing about sharing a role?

Lynne (right): We think exactly the same and both have the same attitude towards work and our peers. Our Herrmann Brain outcomes were nearly exactly the same. The flexibility is terrific. We swap days all the time.

Libby: Everything about sharing this role is brilliant! When I was training Lynne, I loved that not only did she think the same way as me, but when I'd explain something, she would 'get it' and follow up with the next few steps as well. I often told people that I felt like I was working with myself! We have become incredibly close friends and constantly look out for each other both at work and in our personal lives.

What are your tips and tricks for job-sharing effectively?

Libby (left): Definitely communication and the ability to be flexible. We have always wanted people to be able to come to us and have a seamless experience regardless of who is working that day. We don't have any crossover time, but instead have extensive handover notes. Training both clients and colleagues to copy us both in on all correspondence is also vital as we often swap days and cover for each other when on annual leave.

Lynne: Communication. Never assume your job share partner is 'in the know'. Good handover notes are essential.

What drew you to this line of work? Have there been sliding doors moments along the way?

Lynne: I was interested in the extended Admin responsibilities and its flexibility.

Libby: To be honest, I wasn’t drawn to this line or work, I fell into it. After completing my Bachelor of Arts Degree I turned my attention to finding a job, but no one wanted me! It became very clear that I needed a skill. I was introduced to a recruiting agent who suggested I do the Graduate Diploma of Business Studies at RMIT (back then it was called the Graduate Diploma of Secretary Studies). I will never forget sitting at the typewriter thinking I have a degree and I’m learning to type! I can honestly say, touch typing is one of the best skills I’ve ever gained and one that I passed on to our three children. I insisted they all learnt to touch type by the end of Grade 6. After completing my Graduate Diploma I went to three interviews. The first one was an Accounting firm who said ‘they would have loved to have hired me but I had too much personality and I would be bored by them’. The second interview was with an architectural firm who said ‘I didn’t have enough experience’ and the third interview was with McKinsey & Company where I had a 3-hour interview and landed my first job. I was with McKinsey for 11+ years working in their Melbourne, Sydney and London Offices.

Lynne and Libby at work

'An accounting firm said they would have loved to have hired me but I had too much personality and I would be bored by them'

What was your very first job?

Lynne: Working in a local coffee shop after school.

Libby: My very first job was working as a waitress at a local restaurant in Euroa. We were all terrified of the Chef who was known to throw saucepans when he was cross! My first customers that I waited on were my Aunt and Uncle who were very patient and paid me a generous tip!

Who do you most admire?

Lynne: I admire hands-on Mums who work full time; it’s a real juggle.

Libby: I most admire Diane Grady. Diane was a pioneer for women at McKinsey and the most supportive and encouraging person I have ever worked with. She was the first woman at McKinsey to work part-time as a Partner and a fabulous role model.

"My friends and I often went snake hunting with our snake wires. Thankfully, we didn’t ever find one."

Unsung Hero

What makes your heart sing?

Lynne: Hearing my children laugh uncontrollably.

Libby: Don’t laugh, but watching my washing flap on the hills hoist makes my heart sing – every time! I am known to plan washing days after checking the BOM for a good sunny day with a light Northerly wind!

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

Lynne: Dandenong. I lived in a dead-end street or court, it was a friendly neighbourhood where everyone knew each other and the kids played in the street until it was dark.

Libby: I’m a country girl and grew up on a farm 10 kms out of Euroa. It is a beautiful part of the world situated in a valley between two granite covered hills. I was a big climber and loved nothing better than to climb the hill and create adventures in the large boulders. I was also quite partial to making cubby houses up trees and perching myself on top of our house roof. My friends and I often went snake hunting with our snake wires. Thankfully, we didn’t ever find one.

"Never assume your job share partner is 'in the know'. Good handover notes are essential"

With the benefit of hindsight, what would you tell your younger self?

Lynne: Don’t’ sweat the small stuff!

Libby: If I had to say anything to my younger self, it would be to get Financial Advice early in your working life. This is something we have talked about with our three children. My 27 year old daughter salary sacrifices $50 a week to her Superannuation (originally for the Co-cont, but she has continued it). She also has a diverse portfolio of shares, term deposits and cash, as well as contributing to The FHSS scheme.

What is something most people wouldn’t know about you?

Lynne: My great grandfather was a well-known horse trainer of his time and won the Melbourne Cup in 1910.

Libby: I was a pig caller at the Royal Melbourne Show! I love the Melbourne Show and particularly used to love going to see the pigs race (now they swim)! This particular year each stand was nominated a ‘pig caller’. My job was to stand in front of our ‘team’s stand’ and get them to cheer their pig on. And, yes, our stand's pig won!

"My great grandfather was a well-known horse trainer of his time and won the Melbourne Cup in 1910"

Is there someone in your organisation that deserves recognition for going above and beyond? Contact katrinam@industrymoves.com to nominate your Unsung Hero!

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